Free market education system the only answer
January 9, 2014
In his Dec. 28 "Other Voices" in The Union, Jeff Kane bemoans the Congress', i.e., Republicans', lack of focus on the serious issues confronting us today and seems to suggest they have devalued education over time.
He cites the consequent abysmal scholastic ranking of the U.S. against other world nations as the result. He concludes that we must make education more affordable. If he means throwing more money at the problem, he is demonstrating the typical Leftist Pavlovian response when confronted on any issue. Mr. Kane is correct on the appalling statistical ranking of the U.S. but misguided as to the cause.
To begin with, the U.S. spends more money on education than any other nation. Our spending today is twice as much per capita on our students than in 1970, and SAT scores are still lower.
Private and parochial schools spend less per pupil and substantially outperform their public (government) school peers. Let's not forget the typical stunning performances of home-schoolers.
To cite a 2007 newspaper headline, "American kids, dumber than dirt." Money is not the problem. The problem is government schooling and its explicit agenda to indoctrinate the pupil with state-approved ideas and values, not to mention protecting the teachers' union.
In 1914, the U.S. Bureau of Education stated, "The public schools exist primarily for the benefit of the State."
Edward Ross, a noted American sociologist and educator, states that the purpose of government schools is "to collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneading board."
Chester M. Pierce, professor, Department of Educational Psychiatry, Harvard University, states: "Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our Founding Fathers, toward his parents, toward our elected officials, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It's up to you, teachers, to make all these sick children well by creating the international child of the future."
In California, Fields v. Palmdale School District (2005), the court invoked the doctrine of "Parens patriae", i.e., the country as parent, and ruled, "Parents … have no Constitutional right … to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so."
Most recently, Gov. Brown signed into law the state's Gender Neutral act, which states that a student "be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records."
Our government schools are focused on teaching the cultural values of the left, i.e., environmentalism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, feminism, social justice, etc. It is appalling that a young man I witnessed in a TV interview answered "Abraham Lincoln" when asked to name our first president. Or that another could not state the significance of our July 4th celebration.
Mr. Kane is somewhat correct in stating that education is "A requirement for democracy." A more accurate statement is that a historical context of the unprecedented freedom that marked the founding of our "Republic" must be passed from generation to generation if our nation is to be preserved.
The Magna Carta is the flint that struck the iron, creating the spark that was the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, which ignited the explosion of the American Revolution of 1776, creating a nation that in a mere 193 years went from horse and buggy to walking on the moon.
We must begin a serious discussion about alternatives to, and even possibly abolishing, our government schools. A voucher system that permits parents to select private or parochial schools in addition to other government or charter schools is essential.
A free market in education would grow in both opportunities and alternatives. Some schools may a focus on science and math, others on the arts and still others on vocational training or the humanities.
Competing for students and their tuition dollars would eliminate incompetence and foster an environment where parents can exercise their inalienable right to teach their children according to their values.
Manny Montes lives in Lake of the Pines.